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Taken from Vancouver Free Press (Apr 02, 2010)

John Mayer's Vancouver fans get their money's worth at GM Place

At GM Place on Thursday, April 1

by Sarah Rowland

Judging by the crowd’s initial apathy at GM Place on Thursday, catching Michael Franti & Spearhead’s opening set was little more than an afterthought for most John Mayer fans. But they didn’t know what was in store for them. For the first 10 minutes or so, the nearly sold-out crowd seemed a little nonplussed with the folk fest favourites—despite the fact Franti and friends were busting out some funky-assed, reggae-infused Brazilian beats on stage. They wouldn’t jump when asked to jump nor would they bother to lift a limb when asked to raise their arms in the air and wave ’em like they just didn’t care. It was almost as though the only reason ticketholders got there early was to get all settled in their seats before Mayer hit the stage.

But Michael Franti would have none of it. Barefoot and boundless, he won over every Garage attendee one fan at a time. After a few thankless songs, he leapt off the stage and sang most of the remaining set side by side with anyone and everyone in the crowd. And we’re not talking about simply high-fiving VIPs in the front row. He was up in the stands, circling the floor and sharing vocal duties with some unlikely participants, including a few of the more conservative soft rock fans that Mayer tends to draw—which was certainly entertaining to watch. One minute they’re checking their watches in anticipation of hearing “Your Body is a Wonderland” and other pseudo-sensual Mayer hits, and the next the minute they’re dancing arm in arm with a dreaded, barefoot, infectiously happy hippy. It was awesome!

It’s hard to beat that kind of egoless, free-spirited energy. And to his credit, Mayer tried. And the women who “heart JM” (we know this because they wear “I heart JM” T-shirts) certainly appreciated his efforts. If all their swooning, swaying, and starry-eyed adoration were any indication, these ladies were in blue-eyed blues heaven.

One woman held up a sign stating how she travelled several thousand miles “just for a kiss.” I wanted to give girlfriend the head’s up about Mayer’s tendency to kiss and tell. But it turns out, I didn’t have to. He shut her down, citing conversion confusion: “Sorry, ladies, I’m gonna need that in kilometres.” Yes, the Playboy blabbermouth can still crack the occasional funny—I’ll give him that.

Anyway, good for them. Save for the fact he didn’t do “Your Body is a Wonderland”, it’s safe to say his devoted female fans got their money’s worth. And good for Mayer, too. These ladies are, after all, his bread and butter.

Bad for the rest us, though. We were crashing hard from our Franti high. Mayer’s “long and large musical excursions” were a bit of comedown after our high-energy lovefest with Spearhead. Sure, Mayer treated his fans to plenty of hits (“Heartbreak Warfare”, “Waiting on the World to Change” etc., etc.), but once you’ve experienced the unabashed joy of Franti’s first and only hit, “Say Hey (I Love You)” live, everything else seems kind of pretentious in comparison.

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